Rectal impaction (blockage of stool from rectum)

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Rectal impaction (blockage of stool from rectum) (Disease)


An impacted bowel, sometimes called a fecal impaction, happens when a large ball of dry, hard stool gets stuck in the rectum. The blockage of stool can become so hard that it cant be eliminated and blocks the intestine. The stool backed up behind the blockage sometimes seeps out around it, causing soiling or diarrhea. Though the condition is treatable, it can cause tearing in the rectum or even tissue death.

Causes and Risk factors

Chronic, severe constipation is the chief cause of impaction. his is particularly a problem for bedridden patients who have limited ability to move, which can lead to difficulties with bowel movements.

Certain drugs can cause the kind of chronic constipation that leads to impaction. These include anticholinergics, which affect the interaction between nerves and muscles; diarrhea medications; methadone treatment for drug addiction; and narcotic painkillers.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Dietary measures such as consuming more fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables, bran and whole-wheat grains might help bulk up stools, resulting in normal bowel movements. Increasing fluid intake, per your physicians recommendations help promote the passage of stool. Beverages such as tea and coffee should be avoided because they contain caffeine, which can lead to dehydration and subsequent constipation and impacted bowels.


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